Sultan Al Qasimi Presents Jawaher Al Qasimi the ‘Sharjah Coronet’ at the Inaugural of SIBF 2018
Sharjah, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, motivated thousands present at the opening ceremony of the 37th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2018) with an emotional message of heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to recognise the towering contributions of his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council of Family Affairs (SCFA), and presented her the ‘Sharjah Coronet’ for dedicated services to society.
“Welcome to the Sharjah International Book Fair, an event that gathers us every year to celebrate the true word. I extend a special welcome to Japan, our guest of honour. In 1979, I launched an appeal to stop building concrete structures and build knowledge and culture. In 2019, it’ll be 40 years since the appeal. When we look back, we can see that we have built a 40-year legacy of giving and exceptional cultural achievements. I can never take the sole credit for this; I say ‘we’ have achieved everything together, and I would like to once again thank you all for your contribution to the fair’s 40-year journey and success in enlightening the human mind.
“We have utilised all our resources and efforts to develop our emirate, our culture and our people – the building blocks of our society. Cherishing humanity is the way we develop ourselves here in Sharjah,” His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi noted.
The Ruler of Sharjah concluded with an impactful remark about mindful reading, saying, “People do not always seek the truth, but side with what they like to believe in, which may not be the truth always. This way, the truth is often neglected. I say to such people – look carefully and the truth is right there. The books I write are always a quest for the truth. We have taught our sons and daughters to always love reading and search for the truth.”
The opening ceremony was attended by top Emirati officials, Arab and international literati, intellectuals, writers and professionals in the field of knowledge, culture and creative industries.
In his speech, HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) highlighted the international acclaim the Sharjah International Book Fair has earned since its establishment. He emphasised that SIBF would have not earned global respect without the vision and wisdom of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
“SIBF has become an intellectual and cultural extravaganza that draws international interest. It is a celebration of the Emirati and Arab cultures and a message from Sharjah and the UAE to the world about the beauty of the language of the mind, intellectual thought, art and beauty, and how it brings us all together on one stage.
“SIBF is sending a message whose letters are made of gold. A message written in different languages by people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds who share the love of words that can unite humanity in one place where there is no room except for the good. This message illustrates that knowledge is not a coincidence a product of constant accumulation of efforts throughout human history and a result of people’s wisdom and farsightedness.”
Al Ameri concluded his remarks with a glowing tribute to His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah, the UAE’s greatest patron of thought and culture. He said: “His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi has always regarded knowledge as a foundation of development and sustainability, and a nation’s strength and prestige. He is a leader of the strongest intellect and great compassion who views the book as a window to our past, present and future.”
Honoring Cultural Personality of the Year
His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi honoured HE Azzeldine Mihoubi, Algeria’s Minister of Culture, as the ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ in recognition of his outstanding efforts and achievements in the development of cultural fields in Algeria.
Mihoubi thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi and the organisers for selecting him as the Cultural Personality of the Year. “I will never forget this defining moment. On behalf of all Algerian cultural entities, I would like to express my appreciation for this great honour recognizing Algerian culture, which prospered under the leadership of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria.”
Addressing the Ruler of Sharjah, he added: “You have always supported culture, art and creativity across the Arab world. Apart from serving the cultural world and launching an array of regional and international cultural events, you have written many books, which have finally rectified many historical inaccuracy and helped people around the world see our culture and history more accurately.”
Winners of SIBF’s awards
His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi also honoured the winners of awards that recognise recent accomplishments in the reagional and international publishing industry. He presented the second edition of the translation prize, the AED 1.3 million Turjuman Award, to Actes Sud, a French publishing house, for its translation of The Nature of Despotism by Syrian author Abdul Rahman Al Kawakibi to French.
Emirati author Reem Al Kamali was awarded Best Emirati Book for Delma Statute, while Dr. Mohammed Salem Al Mazroui won the Best Emirati Book in the field of Studies for his book Elections in the UAE, Outcome and Future Vision.
Other winners included Poet Salem Abu Jamhour who secured the Best Emirati Book on Creative Poetry for his collection Battle of Buddha, and Dr. Mohammed Omran Taryam who won the Best Emirati Book on the UAE, for his book Historical Roots of the Creation of the UAE. Aisha Al Basri was awarded the Best Arabic Novel Award for her Life without Me, and Hugh Peyman scooped the Best International Book Award for his book China’s Change.
The Best Local Publisher Award went to Kuttab Publishing, while the Best Arab Publisher Award was won by Modern Library, and the Best International Publisher went to George Olms
Winners of 10th Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature honoured
During the opening ceremony, Sheikh Sultan also honoured the winners for the 10th edition of AED 1.2 million Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, which is organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by Etisalat Group.
Author Aisha Al Harthi won ‘Children’s Book of the Year’ for Nostalgia, illustrated by Hassan Manasrah, and published by the Arab World Publishing House in the UAE. The award cash prize of AED 300,000 is equally divided between the author, illustrator and publisher.
The book titled The Tale of the Secret of Olive Oil won the AED 100,000 ‘Young Adult Book of the Year’, written by Walid Dogga and published by Tamer Institute for Community Education (Palestine); while the ‘Best Text’ Award went to Mama: My Classroom Mate by author Lubna Taher, and published by Al Salwa Publishers (Jordan).
The AED 100,000 ‘Best Production’ award was won by Cozy, written by author Anastasia Qarawani, illustrated by Maya Castlitist, and published by Al Salwa Publishers (Jordan). The AED 100,000 ‘Best Illustration’ award has been won by Think of Others, written by Mahmoud Darwish, illustrated by Sahar Abdullah and published by Tanmia Bookstore and Publishing House in Egypt.
The ‘Digital Book App of the Year’ award worth AED100,000 was not given out this year because none of the submitted entries successfully met the set criteria. The award jury has unanimously decided to dedicate the value of the award to organising a series of workshops to help develop the skills of publishers and interactive app designers for children’s books to develop their products in a way that meets the standards.
Following the opening ceremony, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah toured the fair’s stands, watched a ‘Nanchu Soran’ performance by students of the Japanese School, interacted with participating publishers and met hundreds of school children who made their way into the fair bright and early to encourage them to make the most of the 11 days of the fair.
Themed “A Tale of Letters,” SIBF 2018 takes place from 31 October to 10 November, featuring 1, 874 publishing houses from 77 countries offering 20 Million books from1.6 million titles, 80,000 of which are new titles. The 11-day literary extravaganza has a lineup of 1,800 events featuring 472 guests from around the world with 200 book signing ceremonies for authors from 19 countries.
The event comprises a fully integrated cultural programme that features a plethora of literary and intellectual seminars, discussion panels, reading sessions, poetry evenings and book signing ceremonies.
SIBF is celebrating Japan as the Guest of Honour at this year’s edition in celebration of its cultural and creative achievements. SIBF is organising more than 100 activities spanning lectures and workshops presented by 13 award-winning Japanese authors and creative artists. Activities also include classic and folk music shows that reflect the rich Japanese culture, as well as book signing ceremonies by a number of Japanese writers and literary figures.
SIBF 2018 is being held in collaboration with a selection of sponsors and partners including Etisalat (Official Sponsor), Sharjah Media Corporation (Official Media Partner, National Media Council (NMC) (Strategic Partner), Abu Dhabi Media Company (Media Partner), Expo Centre Sharjah (Strategic Partner), Dar Al Khaleej (Press Partner), and Al Arabiya TV (Media Sponsor).